Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Dumbed Down Rothko GCSE in Offense

No.1 Son's biology test question: "What is obesity?"

No.1 Son's answer: "When your BMI is higher than 30."

He obtained zero marks!

Actual answer required is: "When you are overweight."

Substituting overweight for the word obesity is a test of English and not a scientific answer. In any case, overweight is defined as a BMI of between 25 and 30 and is therefore not the same as obese, which he got right.

It's a sad state of affairs when students you have to play a game so that monkeys with no knowledge of the subject in question are able to mark exam papers. Schools, teachers and the examination system are complicit in the dumbing down of education. It would seem that enlightened or inspirational answers have no place in exams any more - you simply have to regurgitate the stock answer, even if inane or scientifically wrong. Teachers should be striking over this, not salaries.

The supposed vandalisation of the Rothko painting in the Tate - can a modernist work be vandalised? I thought it was just a bit of performance art myself. It's graffiti, and some of that can fetch a fortune - just ask Banksy.

A 19 year-old has been jailed for 12 weeks for the offence of causing public outrage via a Facebook post. Yes, his post may well have been offensive, but who determines what is or is not offensive? Right minded people, is the stock answer. Can't say I agree with this form of censorship. The right to free speech should not be given away lightly - ignore what offends you, as being offended is a choice.


  1. Ha, well to be fair the BMI is a medical instrument, not strictly a biological instrument, but frankly your son deserves extra credit not zero marks for knowing about it!


    1. Chris - have finished the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Lovelock has some interesting comments on metaphor in Gaia's Revenge (Gaia itself being a metaphor).